Fracking Testing

Fracking is a complex engineering process that maximizes oil and gas production by injecting hydraulic fracturing fluid to underground rock formations. The liquid that returns to the surface through the wellbore has to be tested before it is treated, disposed or recycled. XENCO Laboratories has the equipment and expertise to meet the different testing needs of this liquid, known as “flowback” and “produced water”. We provide the following environmental testing services to assist related-fracking regulations:


We provide testing services for the items below. They are not subject to specific shale/fracking regulations:

  • Pre-drilling and Baseline
  • Groundwater and Surface Water
  • Solid waste
  • Liquid waste and fracking fluids (handling of wastes generally falls under standard state or Clean Water Act requirements).


Pre-drilling and Baseline

Collection of baseline surface water data consisting of a pre-drilling surface water sample collected immediately downgradient of the oil and gas location and follow-up surface water data consisting of a sample collected at the same location three months after the conclusion of any drilling activities, operations, or completion.

These are the sample parameters:

Xenco maintains the required certifications to run EPA-approved methods for drinking water.

Groundwater / Surface Water

New groundwater protection regulation requires that fracking operators sample nearby water wells before and after drilling. This will require sampling up to four water wells located as one-half mile of a new oil and gas well prior to drilling, and two more samples of each well between six months and a year. The process has to be repeated between five and six years.

In the Greater Wattenberg Area (GWA) of northeastern Colorado, operators are required to sample one water well per quarter section, both before and after drilling takes place.

These are the sample parameters:

Liquid waste and fracking fluids

Flowback is collected in tanks and disposed of either by injection wells or by an E&P waste disposal facility.

Underground Injection is under the requirements of COGCC and EPA Underground Injection Control (UIC) programs. There are no additional testing regulations specific to shale/fracking operations for waste disposal facilities.

Solid waste

Under CDPHE, solid waste is to be handled by commercial facilities.

Suggested list of methods for fracking:

Parameter Method
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)SM 2540C
ChlorideEPA 300.0
AlkalinitySM 2320B
ConductivitySM 2510B
Corrosivity (pH)SM 4500-H+ B
MetalsEPA 200.8
GRO EPA 8015
TPH TX 1005
Total Coliform BacteriaIDEXX
E. coli BacteriaIDEXX
Acid Producing BacteriaHACH
Sulfate Reducing BacteriaHACH
Heterotropic Plate CountSIMPLATE
Aerobic Plate CountHACH

Additional information:

Texas Railroad Commission Current Rules